Top-Rated Machines at High-Demand Golf Course
Tony Girardi can operate a Bobcat A300 year-round because of its low ground disturbance.
While better equipment has helped golfers lower their scores, improvements in maintenance machines have made the job of many golf course superintendents easier.
Bobcat leads the way with the perfect loader for golf course use — the one-of-a-kind A300. The all-wheel steer unit, along with a Bobcat® 435 compact excavator, has certainly had an impact on the work of Tony Girardi and his staff at Rockrimmon Country Club in Stamford, Conn. Girardi, a certified golf course superintendent (CGCS), maintains the 58-year-old private course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. A third of the 6,832-yard course is in Connecticut and the remainder is in New York.
Within a week after Bobcat of Connecticut, Stratford, delivered the new Bobcat A300, Girardi had an experience that more than affirmed his decision to purchase the loader.
“Just after we had a 2-inch rainfall, a tractor-trailer full of sod arrived,” he says. “It was for a job in the middle of the course, which we had to complete within a day. None of our other equipment could move the 20 pallets of sod without damaging the course, so it was time to try the A300.
“That loader saved us. It moved every pallet out to the construction site and did not leave any kind of a mark on the course,” Girardi continues. “I expected some damage, but there was none. I was amazed. Without the A300, we could not have moved the sod.”
The 81-hp A300 replaced a seldom-used other brand of loader. The original machine had 212 hours on it after two years. In the first nine months, Girardi and his staff accumulated 165 service hours on the A300.
“The other loader never entered the course during the peak season of May through September,” Girardi says. “We only used it when the ground was frozen, or in the early spring and late fall, when ground conditions were absolutely perfect. Otherwise, we would have damage. We couldn’t use that loader much of the year.”
The A300, on the other hand, is on the course on any given day, regardless of the weather.
“We never think about whether we can use it,” Girardi says. “The only question is, do we need it to do a job?” And, he says, the answer is usually “yes.”
The 435 Zero House Swing (ZHS) excavator has also impressed Girardi, who has been in the golf industry for 18 years, the last 13 as superintendent at Rockrimmon. “The 435 blew me away,” he says.
An A300 all-wheel steer loader and 435 compact excavator work together to complete projects.
The 49-hp compact excavator has taken over the duties of the TLB. It is used for trenching drainage systems, digging holes for planting large-caliper trees, excavating old cart paths, grading new cart paths and bunker construction.
“It has changed the way we build bunkers,” Girardi says. “We place the 435 in the center of a bunker and swing it all the way around to shell out the bunker and install drainage. We couldn’t do that with our TLB. We were constantly repositioning that machine. The 435 has made us much more efficient.”
Girardi points out that the two Bobcat machines have enabled him and his staff to enhance the quality of product they provide for their very high-demand membership.
“We do a lot more work, and we do it faster and better with much greater flexibility and efficiency. I’ve never seen equipment so ideal for golf course maintenance,” he says.